As any Melbourne business owner knows, making sure you have a clean and hygienic office is essential for staff health and wellbeing, occupational health and safety and projecting a positive business image. While an office might seem like a fairly clean and innocuous workspace, it can be crawling with bacteria and health risks.
Making sure you have a regular and comprehensive office cleaning schedule will go a long way to managing these issues. But, it’s about more than just cleaning. Promoting positive workplace health and wellbeing will help to reduce health risks around the office, which will lower the number of sick days employees take and ensure a happier, more productive workforce.
To help, we’re going to run you through six of the most common health risks to keep an eye on around your office.
- Computer keyboards and mice
A keyboard and mouse can be absolutely rank with bacteria. Research has found that the average keyboard can have 20,000 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. And for shared workstations, the situation can be even worse, with shared keyboards increasing the risk of sharing infections and illnesses.
The situation can be even more dire for people who eat at their desk. Food crumbs in your keyboard can attract insects as well as encouraging the growth of bacteria and germs.
Make sure your office has a ready supply of hand sanitiser and encourage your staff to regularly wipe down and disinfect their keyboards. Having a supply of convenient cleaning products, like anti-bacterial wipes will make this job quick and easy.
- Shared bathrooms and kitchens
As you might expect, bathrooms and kitchens require significant attention when it comes to cleaning. These spaces are havens for germs and mould and must be regularly cleaned. Ensure that all food handling areas are regularly wiped down and disinfected to reduce the risk of spreading illness and food poisoning. Fridges should be regularly emptied of old food and appliances like dishwashers and sandwich machines should be clean and in good working order.
When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, especially if they are shared between departments or offices, they should be cleaned every day to minimise the risk of contamination and the buildup of germs.
- Heating and AC vents and ducts
Heating and AC vents are havens for dirt, debris, allergens, and other horrible things we’d rather not know about. These systems can take in contaminants from outside and release them into the air throughout the office. Because the air tends to be recirculated, these contaminants will get into the system and can be hard to get rid of.
Having your heating and AC ducts and vents regularly and professionally cleaned will help to improve the air quality throughout the office. And this will reduce the risk of respiratory ailments like asthma.
Carpets can quickly take in and harbour a range of nasties like bacteria, mould, insects and allergens. Heavy foot traffic, food crumbs and spills can settle into you carpets and start to do real damage over time. Mould in carpets can affect air quality, leading to respiratory issues.
Make sure you have your office carpets regularly steam cleaned to avoid these issues. This will get rid of any bacteria, mould and mildew, as well as unpleasant odours and air borne allergens that dirty carpets can give off.
By now everyone has heard that sitting is the new smoking. Long periods of sitting contribute to hip and back problems, weight problems, heart disease and cardiovascular problems, digestive problems and increase the incidences of anxiety and depression.
Properly educating employees about avoiding the dangers of sitting is vital for promoting health and wellness around the office. Some strategies for addressing the issue include offering standing desks, making sure people are taking regular breaks and implementing standing meetings.
- Unfair sick day policies
Having an overly stringent sick day policy can discourage people from staying home from work when they are sick. This can increase the likelihood of spreading the illness around the office, leading to even more staff out sick.
Encourage people to stay home if they’re feeling sick. If employees don’t want to miss work, then encourage them to work from home to avoid spreading the infection to co-workers.